Sometimes, just for fun, I like reading about "dates from Hell". For no reason other than to amuse myself. I have not had many dates from Hell. I think that there are good ones and not so good ones. One of the girls in our Oxfam team is my age and on the dating scene and we do get a few stories which are pretty funny. But not mean, just funny.
There is not doubt that the world of meeting another person has changed hugely. Internet dating has become the norm. Having several long term relationships is more common. There's "friends with benefits" kind of relationships. You know, having sex with someone who is okay for friendship until a better kind of someone comes along. Casual hook ups. Long term marriages end and middle aged people are thrown into the world of dating. I imagine that to be a scary thing.
At least it is more common now to be divorced or single. Years ago women in particular were coined as spinsters or somehow pitied because they had not got themselves a man to marry. As though life meant nothing unless one had a man.
You know, I don't expect my son to marry. Or not to marry. I presume he will have a girlfriend one day but I never presume he will marry. I never think I will be a grandparent. It's not in my head. Not even as a "one day" kind of thing. If I had a daughter I would think the same. I neither encourage nor discourage marriage. There are no expectations in regards to that. All I would like is for my son to navigate his way through life the best way possible. Should he meet a person he thinks enough of to marry then that is good. But it is not the be all and end all.
One thing is for sure, whoever he meets will have had a few relationships beforehand. When I was growing up you thought your parents had no life prior to having children. Your mother definitely had no boyfriends before she met your mother. Or never talked about it.
My son knows that I went out with few guys before I met K. A private school pratt was one. Followed by a misogynist wanker. There were a few non sexual prospects out there. They would have liked sex but I did not fancy them at all. The odd totally forgotten ones.
Anyway, just before I met my future husband, I was asked out by a guy who had come into my parents business and spoken to me about something. A few days later he rang back and asked me out. I could not recall at all what he looked like and hesitated before he pestered me enough to say yes.
That weekend he turned up to pick me up. I was 21 and I think he was about 45. Not a healthy and fit 45 either. Especially in the eyes of a peachy 21 year old. He wore a cravat and had a black leather jacket on. Blue jeans tucked into brown leather boots. Pretty much bald. To tell you the truth, in my then very young eyes he looked like an old fart. To me these days he would look like the average middle aged man.
So we went out. Somewhere forgettable.
He was a classic Baby Boomer. Grew up in the glorious 1950's. Travelled overseas for years living the life of dope smoking, guitar playing, flares wearing and sexually free time that it was. He did two stints in Vietnam and then lived the life of a hippy.
Then, like everyone, he got old and decided to buy a place and settle down. The thing was, although his outer shell was that of an old bloke, his inner shell was still that of a young man. And that is fine because in myself I still retain my younger self. It's me. But I am realistic about my older self. Were I to find myself in a position where I was going have to date again you can bet I would not be putting myself forward to men who were 21. Whereas this guy whose head was still full of a vigour of his youth only wanted to go out with females my age because older women were, well, too old.
So, this man (I'll call him Rod) and I go out now and then and no long after I meet K so there is no way that the relationship is going to go any further with Rod. Two reasons. I don't fancy him and he is too old for me. But he does not see that he is too old for me as he feels so young and full of life.
During out hanging out together (not to be mistaken with FWB's) we decide to make a trip to King Island. Well, I decided to go and he just invited himself along and I was too polite to tell him to fuck off.
Four days were booked and off we went. We stayed in a place with separated bed rooms which completely gutted him. He was thinking that we were going to have a shag fest. Hope springs eternal I suppose. No matter I made it very clear before leaving.
After two nights he was so unpleasant to me and full of anger that I was forced to book a flight back early. He did the same. The trouble is that only one place goes to and from that place and we were the only two humans on board. The rest of the place was chock full of live crayfish stuffed into sacks. We sat in semi silence as the plane flew back over the Bass Strait, the humming of the engine and the ticking sound of the crayfish the only noise.
When we got back to the airport my brother picked me up and I did not speak to Rod for ages. Then one day he rang up to apologise and invited K and I over to his place for a BBQ.
He finally did meet an incredibly beautiful Turkish girl called Tina (I think that was her name). She was 28 years old and so deliciously lovely but I did think their match a bit strange. Her English was okay but they were so different. They got engaged. We went to a celebration of their engagement at his house.
Previous to this get together her mother had held a big family celebration for the engagement and there were lots of people and family. Food and music. All captured on video. So Rod puts on the video for us to watch.
As we are watching a person comes into the view of the movie. It's an older man, grey hair and a bit overweight. My husband to be leant forward to get a closer look and asked - quite innocently - "Who is that old guy? Is that Tina's father?"
There was a rather horrible silence before someone said "No, it's Rod".
We then made some polite excuses and headed home. It was as though someone uttered an hideous truth.
The engagement ended not long after. Something about the age difference.
He rang me up about ten years ago to say hello.
I though of him recently when I saw some promotional thing about King Island. That is a place I cannot think about without connecting it with him.
It's a very beautiful place to visit. Small, interesting and different.
But not very romantic.